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Decadence and the Senses

Reading Decadence is an intersensorial experience. It is to indulge in voluptuous pleasures and excruciating pains, to sample exotic tastes and sounds, and to envisage states of mind in highly sensual terms. Obsessed with extreme sensory experiences, Decadent writers identified ways of shocking the middle classes and rejecting moralism by turning the conventional notion of 'good taste' on its head. This collection of essays explores the Decadent sensorium in the work of established and less well-known Decadent writers and artists, including Rachilde, Theodore Wratislaw, Arthur Symons, Mark AndrE Raffalovich, J.-K. Huysmans, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Michael Field, Ernest Dowson, and StEphane MallarmE. Tracing sensual motifs and figures in the work of late nineteenth-century Decadent writers and artists, leading and emerging scholars in the field offer new and provocative insights into the Decadent imagination.Jane Desmarais is Senior Lecturer in English at Goldsmiths, University of London. Alice CondE is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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